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Grandma's hands

In many families affected by AIDS elderly women are left to bring up their grandchildren. In Sangli, western India, Atul Loke often found that grandfathers took no part in looking after children, and the women were left to cope alone. As part of a wider investigation into the lives of those living with HIV, he took a series of portraits of these remarkable women.

One of them is 66 year old Radhabai Bhandare (left), who has looked after her 11 year old grandson Sunny since his parents died of AIDS-related illnesses nine years ago. Sunny is HIV positive. Radhabai earns 40 rupees a day as a farm labourer.

'Life is very impossible. When Sunny is ill it becomes more difficult to manage economically. 'I have no clue what illness he has and why he doesn't get well and what medicine he takes but I take him to Sangli hospital every month without fail. I have to take lots of care with his diet which is even more difficult with my situation. There are different vessels for him, different soap and different food but I don't let him know this.

I wish my grandchild would get proper and better medicine to become completely fine. I try my best to fulfill whatever his wishes are by working as hard as I can manage. I start my day at 5am. After finishing the chores I go to the fields. I come back at 4pm and again start doing housework. It's difficult at my age to keep going on like this. I hope my Sunny can stay healthy for as long as I am alive. After that I don't know what will happen to him or who will take care of him.'This story appears in the book World Press Photo: New Stories which presents documentary stories made by ten young photographers from around the world.
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